Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Downing Is Key to Goals

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Downing Is Key to Goals

Article excerpt

Wide man should makethedifference

WE need to start scoring goals - so it will be great to have Stewart Downing back against Manchester United.

We've scored just twice in our last five Premiership games and that's not good enough. Downing is the man who makes us tick and that's why he will be very important against United.

I was delighted to see Malcolm Christie score at Aston Villa. He deserved the goal even if it was offside.

But I can only remember us creating one other clear cut chance and that's when Lee Cattermole headed wide late on. We have to do better than that against United, and that's where Downing comes in.

He is the only player we have got who can consistently cross the ball into the box.

He creates chances for us, and chances can bring goals.

There's certainly nothing wrong defensively. I'm happy with the way we defended at Aston Villa. We were organised, disciplined and our attitude was spot on.

Those three ingredients have been missing from the team as a whole, so it was great to see them return.

Obviously you still worry a bit because we have been switching on and off all season. We have to defend like we did at Villa, while we start to create more at the other end.

Obviously it was disappointing to concede a goal at Villa, especially at the time that we did.

I think that Mark Schwarzer should never have come for the ball in the first place, but credit to him, he admitted afterwards that he had made contact with Petrov.

The Villa man would never have scored from that angle and you have to wonder whether he was already on the way down when Schwarzer made contact.

But there isn't a player in the country who doesn't go to ground in this way when he is nudged, especially when the keeper has already sold himself.

I can put my hand up and say that I can never remember diving as a player.

In fact some of the lads often asked me why I hadn't gone down when I was tapped. …

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